The Strand hosts its own awards night on Sunday

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The Academy Awards in Hollywood won't be the only place Sunday night where individuals will receive gold trophies.

The Strand Theater in Zelienople will host its second Awards Night fundraising program that will coincide with the national Oscars telecast.

“We go all out — we have a red carpet and everything,” said Ron Carter, president and executive director at The Strand.

The event was created thanks to Beth Traverso, a volunteer.

“I hosted Oscar parties at my house for several years — kind of the women’s event after the Superbowl. We thought it would be fun to dress up and watch the awards together,” Ms. Traverso said. She would host 30-35 women and actually place a red carpet through her living room for the party.

When she became too busy to host them at her home, the Oscar parties fell to the wayside until last year.

When some of the volunteers started discussing fundraising ideas, someone mentioned Ms. Traverso’s parties.

“I said I would do it, but only with a committee. It is just too much work for one person,” she said.

The committee came through, and several local businesses sponsor the event and serve as judges, “paparazzi” and servers throughout the evening.

Starting with a red carpet leading up to the theater, guests can mingle, enjoy appetizers and desserts by local restaurants and merchants and vote for their favorite movies. Volunteers decorate the theater in Oscar decor, and guests are encouraged to dress in their best, Mr. Carter said.

“We have such fun with it — we have several categories such as ‘Best Dressed Couple,’ ‘Best Dressed Female,’ and ‘Most Outrageous.’ Everyone really gets into it,” Mr. Carter said.

A panel of judges — volunteers recruited by Ms. Traverso — will select winners who receive a small gold trophy. The Red Carpet festivities kick off at 6 p.m. and after the contests, guests will watch the awards ceremony on the big screen in the theater.

Last year, more than 80 people attended the Awards Night and raised approximately $2,500, according to Mr. Carter.

“It’s just a nice big party, and a great way to have fun while raising money,” he said.

The $20 fee includes reserved seating for the awards show along with appetizers and desserts, such as chicken k-bobs, penne a la vodka, caprese bites, wedding soup and, of course, popcorn. There will also be a cash bar. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance by calling 724-742-0400 or

Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer,

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